MILLIONS of rands will be pumped into a series of youth, sports and culture events in Nelson Mandela Bay over the next two months to unearth job opportunities for young people.
The metro has set aside almost R12-million to host a youth summit, dialogues, festivals, memorial lectures and marathons to commemorate Youth Month and Mandela Month.
The events will take place at venues across the city next month and in July.
The metro’s head of sports, recreation, arts and culture, Noxolo Nqwazi, said the money would be used largely to pay artists, hire sound equipment and pay for venues.
“It would be a crime not to pay our local artists – we have to,” she said.
“We are paying for sound and venue hire … All these things cost money.”
Nqwazi said the activities planned for Youth Month were to show young people there were opportunities for jobs in entrepreneurship.
About R3-million will be spent on Youth Month events in an attempt to tackle the metro’s youth unemployment rate of 47%.
The events will include a youth summit, youth business seminar, weekly dialogues, the Richmond Hill festival and a music and poetry festival.
“We are kicking off Youth Month with a youth summit,” she said.
“It will have a youth advocacy focus and there will be proposals on skills development.
“We will introduce the ‘five golden years’, centred on the township economy, the oceans economy and the creative economy, and there will be discussions about how the youth can take up those opportunities.
“We want to inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship so that they don’t rely on tenders only.”
Nqwazi said that at the business seminar, Bay business leaders would talk to the youth about how they had developed their businesses.
There would be cash prizes for young people with winning business plans to help launch their businesses.
On Youth Day, to commemorate 40 years since the Soweto uprisings, there would be a 5km and 10km marathon, drummajorette and marching-band displays, as well as local artists performing at the NMMU’s indoor sports centre.
Nqwazi said dozens of Bay artists would be hired to perform at the music festivals.
“We have to provide artists with a stage to showcase their performances,” she said.
“As part of celebrating Youth and Mandela months, we have put aside R750 000 for local artists to put up their own events.
“We have allocated funds to 27 artists who can put up their own small events and make a business out of them.”
The city had signed an agreement with the organisers of the National Arts Festival to allow artists from the Bay to have a platform to showcase their talent at the festival.
In July, a 42km one-city relay will take place from Uitenhage to the Port Elizabeth City Hall.
Nqwazi said an event would also be held during Mandela Month to honour living legends of sports, arts and culture, and a five-day cultural festival would take place near the end of July.
There would also be a Nelson Mandela memorial lecture and a Legacy Table of Hope banquet on July 29.
The proceeds from the banquet would go to old-age homes.
Swallows Foundation SA executive director of programmes Bantu Mtshiselwa said the cultural exchange organisation had received a R45 000 grant from the municipality, which it would use to host a series of culture corner music nights in the metro.